Allergy Proc 1991 (Sep); 12 (5): 299–303
Lee TH, Arm JP, Horton CE, Crea AE, Mencia-Huerta JM, Spur BW
Department of Allergy and Allied Respiratory Disorders,
U.M.D.S., Guy's Hospital,
Fish oil is rich in the polyunsaturated N-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DCHA). EPA competes with arachidonic acid (AA) for metabolism by the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways. Selective metabolites derived from EPA have reduced biological activities as compared with the AA-derived counterparts. Dietary supplementation with EPA led to incorporation of EPA into membrane phospholipids, an inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase pathway activity, and a reduction of the elaboration of platelet-activating factor. Neutrophil chemotaxis and the capacity of these cells to adhere to endothelial cells are substantially attenuated. This suggests that EPA has anti-inflammatory potential. Clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and bronchial asthma have shown beneficial effects. Whether the benefit obtained clinically is sufficient to replace or significantly reduce any clinical condition remains to be answered.